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#26073 - 05/15/08 01:41 PM Reinventing the Sacred
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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I attended a talk by Stuart Kauffman two nights ago.
http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kauffman06/kauffman06_index.html

He talked about some of his ideas from his new book "Reinventing the Sacred."
More information about him here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Kauffman

He was on the dissertation committee for a friend and colleague who introduced me to him.

Pretty interesting talk. Not sure I buy into the whole idea. He's an atheist, to be sure, but he has a conception of God, or something we can call God. God is not "the creator," but the "creativity" in the universe. I bought his book last night and will probably get around to reading it towards the end of this year.

The word 'God' comes with a lot of baggage - so much that it's almost impossible for most people to use it in this new sense without bringing in all those other ideas.

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#26076 - 05/15/08 05:56 PM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
TFF!
..no time to talk today, but; from your link on SK:
"This emerging view finds a natural scientific place for value and ethics, and places us as co-creators of the enormous web of emerging complexity that is the evolving biosphere and human economics and culture."

...a quote worthy of Whitehead's Metaphysics certainly (if not plagerized -LOL).
Process philosophy, concresence, prehension....

Emphasis on Creativity (the process) ...and us as "co-creators."

I love his direction; to apply this to "the evolving biosphere and human economics and culture."

Cool stuff.... Thanks!
~Later

_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#26079 - 05/15/08 07:41 PM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
TFF, thanks for telling us about Stuart Kauffman (Reinventing the Sacred) and about his, "conception of God, or something we can call God. God is not "the creator," but the "creativity" in the universe."

Based on my reading of Alfred North Whitehead's Process Theology in the 1970's--introduced to me by my assistant--I have been preaching and teaching about this creativity which I believe is going on, in through and around us, all the time. This is what led me to concoct the acronym, GØD and to call myself a unitheist http://www.unitheism.org It got me away from thinking about a God, out there--a creator separate and apart from the process going on all the time.

Here is what is important to me now: What is the practical value of being aware of this "Creativity"--GØD?


_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#26080 - 05/15/08 07:45 PM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
I suppose the message is that Pagans have hearts too. What's new?
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#26082 - 05/16/08 12:06 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
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RedE: How did you guess? smile

Assuming that 'heart' means 'spirit', I also assume that Pagans also have minds and bodies.


Edited by Revlgking (05/16/08 01:04 AM)
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#26083 - 05/16/08 02:39 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Revlgking]
redewenur Offline
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I should have known that I wouldn't get away with such a brief comment smile

Rev: "I also assume that Pagans also have minds and bodies."

That's not as flippant as it might appear, since our human minds and bodies define our 'emergent' qualities - an obvious but essential point in discussing 'heart' or 'spirit'. But the words 'heart' and 'spirit' may be ambiguous. In this case, I use the common understanding in which 'heart' means the ordinary capacity to experience the range of emotions permitted by our human physiology. I assert that ultimate meaning and purpose are experienced, and therefore known, via nothing more nor less than the light of emotion. I'm quite certain that there's nothing in the nature of this emergent quality called 'emotion' that distinguishes the reductionist from the emergentist, nor the atheist from the theist. It follows that ultimate meaning and purpose can be experienced by all of the aforementioned. The formulation and construction of a god, or deity substitute, is an optional embellishment that will vary according to one's culture and background. I have not read Stuart Kauffman's book but, from what I have read, I would say that his background has come to the fore in his personal formulation.

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#26090 - 05/16/08 04:11 PM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
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Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
No flippancy, in the negative sense of the word, was intended.
I put more stock in what Pagans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever, do and how they live their lives than I do in what they say they believe. Deeds, not creeds, are what is important to me.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#26237 - 05/27/08 03:38 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Revlgking]
Revlgking Offline
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Dr. Willis Lamb, physicist, died May 15. He was 94. He and Dr. Paul Kusch won a Nobel Prize in 1955, in physics. They discovered that empty space is not empty; it roils with "virtual particles" that pop into and out of existence too quickly to be detected.

Can any physicist, in lay terms, explain what all this means for physics, today. Maybe the physical world isn't just physical, anymore. It is beginning to sound like what some people call the realm of the spirit, IMO.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1955/
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#26238 - 05/27/08 05:03 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Revlgking]
redewenur Offline
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Rev.

I don't have the physicists answer, of course, but further to your remarks about vitual particles, I recently heard Frank Wilczac talking about the nature of space. In a nutshell, he said that space is not simply emptiness, but has a substantial form. He expects that work at LHC may soon provide a definitive answer to the question of what the fabric of space really consists of. I'll try to find the Wilczac podcast.

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#26242 - 05/27/08 06:53 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
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Loc: Australia
Great article which I did not do justice to by reading it too quickly! Pressed for time but I'll have another go tomorrow. I too was struck by the quote mentioned by samwick, but also I was fascinated by the thought of "ceaseless creation in ways untold". What is it that is described here if not chaos, something which I have long thought is at the heart of the nature of space? Or will the fabric of space turn out to be predictable and subject to rules after all? I do hope not!

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#26247 - 05/27/08 11:17 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Rev

From the podcast I mentioned earlier (available via link below):

"...our theory of the basic electric and weak forces - the so-called electroweak theory - two of the four fundamental forces of nature, has, as a fundamental component, the idea that what we perceive as empty space is not empty at all. That it has material properties and that, in fact, it's a kind of exotic superconductor. But, unlike ordinary superconductors, we don't know what makes empty space have the properties it does. And so, there are hypotheses about what it is - many different hypotheses - but the way we're going to find out for sure is to break off little chips of this material that we perceive ordinarily as empty space, and examine them and find out what their properties are. So, that goes under the name 'Higg's Boson', and it might be just one new kind of particle that does the job; but I suspect that it's a much richer story, and that we'll find that there's a whole world of phenomena connected with the superconducting property of empty space." - Frank Wilczec, NPR Science Friday

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89562587

So the situation is that we may be close to gaining some radically new knowledge regarding some of the greatest contemporary mysteries of the physical universe.
_ _ _

Ellis: "Or will the fabric of space turn out to be predictable and subject to rules after all? I do hope not!"

Whatever space turns out to be, I wouldn't concern yourself about it. On the macro scale (a virus will do) events are predictable in accordance with the established physical laws. But at the quantum level, the universe is quite different. It's a realm of probabilities, not certainties, and whilst consciousness itself appears to have a role to play, the phenomena of that realm lie beyond the intuitive grasp of the human mind.

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#26254 - 05/27/08 05:49 PM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: redewenur]
redewenur Offline
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Posts: 1840
Hi, Ellis. (I meant to append this to the above, but it's too late to edit)

This is from Lawrence M. Krauss, in which he talks about quantum mechanics as demonstrated by the famous double slit experiment:

It's absolutely ridiculous what happens when particles go through two slits...When I throw a baseball...it takes a known trajectory, usually(and ends up in a catcher's hand!), and we can calculate that...But when you throw an electron, of course, it doesn't do that...it takes every possible way to get from one place to another, all at the same time...An electron, when you send it out, will go through both [slits] at the same time, and interfere with itself when it comes out at the end, and therefore produce a very strange pattern on the other side of the slits. Now you say well, this is ridiculous, the electron either went through one slit or the other, so I'll watch it. So you turn on...an electron detector, and indeed each electron goes through one slit or the other...and when you look behind the slits, you see that the pattern is different. Having watched it...you've changed the pattern, and so you know it was doing something very different when you weren't watching it. And that is...very objectionable!...Quantum mechanics is profoundly unnerving because of that, and it has many philosophical implications that many people are still disturbed about...In my own field - something I'm just working on - trying to understand, is...if the universe, as a whole, is a quantum mechanical system - which it surely is if quantum mechanics governs it - then what does it mean if your inside of it?

I've posted this because, as Prof. Krauss mentions, this has many philosophical implications.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#26266 - 05/27/08 08:31 PM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
RedE, et al: I assume you realize that this, to me, sounds a lot like philosophy and theology. smile

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#26271 - 05/28/08 03:14 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Rede stop it, this is all making me think far too hard. I only have "the intuitive grasp of the human mind" to help me in this! Are you saying the pattern changed simply when you were not observing it, or was it changed because you were observing it and somehow that changes the result because you are literally part of this equation? I just read what I just wrote and probably that is quite silly? If it were so it would really have huge implications!

I still think space sounds very un-ordered (I am not using 'chaos' as that term has a definite meaning now, and I don't want to use it in that sense here.

I have reread the post from Kaufmann and find that some of it appeals to me a lot. Thanks. FF.

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#26272 - 05/28/08 04:00 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Ellis]
odin1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 136
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Hello everyone,

I would ask the question in a simplified way. Could space be "time"? Suppose "space" is the vehicle that controls time or "stores" it.

Let me give an example.

We live in a solar system that exist in a galaxy that rotates. The planets rotate around our sun while the solar system moves around the center of the galaxy, now said to be a black hole.
Suppose you wanted to go back in time to 400 AD and you could determine approximately using the sun as a reference point to that point in space where the sun was in 400AD. If you had enough energy to produce a wormhole could you travel back in time? Kinof like a record. You put the stylus where you want it to listen to the music you want to hear.

odin1
_________________________
People will forgive you for anything -but being right !
odin1



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#26274 - 05/28/08 04:53 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Ellis

"Are you saying the pattern changed simply when you were not observing it...?"

- No. When the action is not observed, the pattern appears.

"...or was it changed because you were observing it and somehow that changes the result because you are literally part of this equation?"

- Yes. Until the process is observed, the same pattern will result - it's a pattern that would result if the particle were taking every possible route from A to B - simultaneously - then interacting with itself (or other selves!) upon arrival. Yet when it is observed, it takes a single route to the exclusion of all others. The act of observing changes the behaviour.

Rev

"I assume you realize that this, to me, sounds a lot like philosophy and theology."

- Yes. smile (That's why I raised it in this thread)
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#26285 - 05/29/08 01:03 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
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Loc: Australia
Rede..."...or was it changed because you were observing it and somehow that changes the result because you are literally part of this equation?"

and

Rev "I assume you realize that this, to me, sounds a lot like philosophy and theology."

Does this sound like the reasons for believing in god which rely on belief and not proof? If that is so then there is a similarity. Or is it that the change occurs because it is observed and it is the observation which ensures the result? In which case the observation would act as an enabler or as a catalyst, or even as the promoter if it was a calculated response.

However if the observer is determining the result, what happens to the possibility of the other copies of the pattern that would have appeared if it were not being observed? Do they still exist though unobserved? If the patterns need an observer to be seen, and the act of observing changes the behaviour would the observed pattern be the same in every case? You'd have to imagine not- as the observer will bring a different point of view (literally as well as figuratively) wouldn't they? Although by taking every possible route the pattern would perhaps differ any way! If they still exist that is.

I am really interested in this. Is there some very, very simple elementary stuff available to read about it? VERY simple! I've looked up Kaufmann and read some of it but I think he has an agenda whereas I would like to look at the ideas rather than the argument developed from them.





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#26286 - 05/29/08 02:48 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Ellis, you ask:
Does this sound like the reasons for believing in god, which rely on belief and not proof?

Ellis, I am not sure what you are asking here. But please keep in mind: Because of the concept of GØD, which I hold, I have evidence for that part of GØD which I experience with my senses. From experience, I know the part of GØD which I know.

For example, I don't have to experience all of the Atlantic ocean to know that there is such a thing as the Atlantic ocean.

I always ask atheists: If you know, and experience existence, and that you exist, how can you possibly deny existence?
Of course, you are free to reject existence, and choose not to exist, but are you free to deny that there is such a thing as existence for those who choose to go on existing?
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#26289 - 05/29/08 05:45 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: Revlgking]
redewenur Offline
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Posts: 1840
Ellis: "However if the observer is determining the result, what happens to the possibility of the other copies of the pattern that would have appeared if it were not being observed? Do they still exist though unobserved?"

- There's no current knowledge regarding this, although there are some interesting hypotheses, e.g. the 'many worlds' and 'decoherence'. Both of the latter suggest that all possible states still exist beyond the realm of measurement; in the former case, via parallel universes, and in the latter by superposition. David Deutsch, however, makes it clear that in his view, decoherence and superposition can only be explained by the 'many worlds' (a species of 'multiverse')

Incidently, we should consider that there's a subtle difference between these two statements:

(a) The observer determines the result
(b) The act of observation determines the result

Ellis: "would the observed pattern be the same in every case?"

- The pattern is an interference pattern similar (in principle) to what you see when you throw two pebbles into a pond and the ripples overlap. See:

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.ottisoft.com/images/InterferScreenShot.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.ottisoft.com/interfer.htm&h=480&w=640&sz=88&tbnid=ceTQj-xlcZ8J:&tbnh=103&tbnw=137&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dinterference%2Bpattern&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=1&ct=image&cd=2

In the case of the double slit experiment, the change is simply the presence or absence of an interference pattern.

More to ponder...

"Now, you might say, what if I decide not to look at the detector set up next to one or the other of the slits? Well, one still does not get an interference pattern because the potential exists for one to be able to tell which path the photon, for example, travelled. Even this potential (i.e., "knowability") is enough to stop the formation of an interference pattern". Conversely, "...if one is ignorant of which path the photon took, then an interference pattern is not just possible, it must occur."

John Wheeler introduced a thought experiment, based upon the double slit experiment. In this experiment, the light source is a quasar 1 billion light years away. As a result of gravitational lensing, the light from the quasar reaches us from two different angles, thus giving the appearance of coming from two different sources (this happens, and is useful to astronomers). The effect, then, is like that of the double slit. Now, supposing that one could ensure that the two paths taken by the photons were of equal length (say, a billion lt yrs), then it would be possible for a single photon to arrive from the source at the same instant via each route - and thus interfere with itself, as evident from the pattern on a suitable screen. But then, when the appropriate observation is made, there will be no such pattern, and therefore the photon 'suddenly' did not follow both routes. So, what happened one billion years ago will have been determined by the act of observation here and now.

Details at http://www.seti.org/news/features/quantum-astronomy-knowability.php

To illustrate his point, John Wheeler used that extreme example of time and distance, but if you think about it, you will see that owing to the limiting speed of light, all such double slit experiments, whether real or 'Gedanken' demonstrate a direct association between consciousness/knowing and quantum events of the past.

As I've always claimed to know from personal experience (I guess I can get away with that in an NQS thread smile ), there's more to space, time and consciousness than meets the eye...or the understanding.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#26321 - 05/30/08 07:50 AM Re: Reinventing the Sacred [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
I've been wanting to contribute more to this thread, but frown
...and I still need to catch up.

This could go anywhere, but the final link makes me put it here:

Thanks Canuk, for....
http://brneurosci.org/
This is just an amazing site; well worth a quick look. I haven't looked far, but what I've seen so far is of superior quality, and relevant to many of the popular subjects here.
For instance:
http://brneurosci.org/political.html
...or, especially...
http://brneurosci.org/subjectivity.html
Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Information, and Subjectivity

Hope this will help, if not inspire something....
smile
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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